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Private Line covers what has occurred, is occurring, and will ocurr in telecommunications. Since communication technology constantly changes, you can expect new content posted regularly.

Consider this site an authoritative resource. Its moderators have successful careers in the telecommunications industry. Utilize the content and send comments. As a site about communicating, conversation is encouraged.


Thomas Farely

Tom has produced since 1995. He is now a freelance technology writer who contributes regularly to the site.

His knowledge of telecommunications has served, most notably, the American Heritage Invention and Technology Magazine and The History Channel.
His interview on Alexander Graham Bell will air on the History Channel the end of 2006.

Ken Schmidt

Ken is a licensed attorney who has worked in the tower industry for seven years. He has managed the development of broadcast towers nationwide and developed and built cell towers.

He has been quoted in newspapers and magazines on issues regarding cell towers and has spoke at industry and non-industry conferences on cell tower related issues.

He is recognized as an expert on cell tower leases and due diligence processes for tower acquisitions.

January 03, 2006

Negative or Positive

Depending upon whether your company had originated from Western Union or from a later radio "upstart" like Marconi, your batteries might have either their negative or their positive terminals connected to ground. It's all part of the Great Debate about whether electrical Mother Earth has a negative or a positive tendency, and the effort to reduce cathodic erosion of grounding terminals in the plant. And that reflected into whether, on polar telegraph circuits, marking current was postive or negative. At ITT in NY, when we got circuits in from Western Union or WUI, their
marking current was always positive, and we'd have to match them, because they would not change!

When we got circuits in from RCA, they'd always be negative mark, and we'd have to match them, because they would not change! At ITT, we liked negative mark, but we'd adapt to the others, just to get business done. I can't imagine what must have gone on when the two of them tried to interconnect!

At any rate, you could see the historical heritage of Western Union and RCA in each of these. And what was our heritage that made ITT so accommodating?

Remember Postal Telegraph? That manually-run, scrambling around outfit owned by ITT that gave Western Union such fits pre-WWII that Western went to the FCC to sue ITT out of the domestic telegraph business? See, the story all fits together!

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